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(en) Czech, SFED: Pietro Ferrua (1930-2021) - The founder of the International Center for Anarchism Research (CIRA) died on July 28. [machine translation]

Date Tue, 7 Sep 2021 08:49:04 +0300

Pietro Michele Stefano Ferrua was born on September 18, 1930 in Sanremo on September 18, 1930 as the son of the casino dealer Libero Ferrua and seamstress Anita Taggiasco. ---- He was involved in the resistance at a very young age. Immediately after the liberation of Italy from fascism, he espoused anarchist ideas, formed the anarchist group Alba dei Liberi with two friends in Sanremo, and in 1946 formed Sanremo at the founding of the Anarchist Federation, for which he spoke as a delegate during the Ligurian Anarchist Federation. In 1948, he moved to France, where he continued his studies and began attending the Libertarian Circle of Students in Paris.
As part of the Alba dei Liberi, Ferrua became the first prisoner of conscience in Italy in 1950 for refusing military service when he was found guilty by the courts and sentenced to 15 months in prison. Both of his friends, Angelo Nurra and Liberoso Gugliemi, turned out similarly.

In 1953, he began co-publishing the magazine Senza Limiti (5 issues were published in 1952-1954). At that time he collaborated with the periodicals of the Anarchismo group in Naples and Palermo.

As Ferrua was persecuted by the Italian judiciary, which wanted to force him to perform military service, he took refuge in Geneva on April 25, 1954, together with his Brazilian partner Diana. Here he became one of the organizers of the first international anarchist camps. The very first, in which he also took part, took place in Cecina, Italy in 1953, and another in Carrara, Italy (1954) and Salernes, Provence, Provence (1955). In the latter place, he established a secret structure of solidarity and aid for French and Algerian deniers and deserters under the auspices of Jeunesses Libertaires. Between 1955 and 1962, with the support of André Bösiger, he helped many anti-militarists and opponents cross the border and take refuge in Switzerland. In 1958, Ferrua founded the Swiss Section of the International Anti-Fascist Solidarity (SIA).

During his stay in Switzerland, he first stayed in Daley-sur-Lutry with Lisa Cérésole, widow of the founder of the International Civil Service, a voluntary peace organization. He then moved to Geneva, where he studied interpreting and translation. There he joined forces with other anarchists in 1956 to continue the work of Louis Bertoni - in 1957 the bilingual anarchist periodical Il Risveglio Anarchico / Réveil anarchiste reappeared , published at monthly intervals and then irregularly. Alfred Amiguet and André Bösiger collaborated on the French part of the magazine and Claudio Cantini, Carlo Frigerio, Carlo Vanza and Ferrua, who signed Vico, on the Italian part. From 1957 to 1960, they published 23 issues in this way.

In 1957, Ferrua also launched an exhibition project on the anarchist press around the world; with varying degrees of success he sent out a number of letters. In order to preserve the publications that were coming, the idea was born in Geneva of the same year that the International Center for the Research of Anarchism ( CIRA) was founded.). Alexandre Alexiev, Henri Bartholdi, André Bernard, André Bösiger, Jean-Pierre Conza and others also took part in the project. Works from the library of Louis Bertoni, the Germinal group in Geneva were added, followed by a large number of books belonging to Jacques Gross and other activists who soon joined the project, such as Hem Day, E. Armand, André Prudhommeaux, the Swedish SAC, etc. Subsequently, CIRA received the archives of SPRI and CRIA (Interim Secretariat for International Relations and Commission for Anarchist International Relations, operating from 1947 to 1958), which remained packaged for a long time and were not inventoried until forty years later. CIRA is currently based in Lausanne, where it moved in 1965.

Pietro Ferrua has always sought recognition of the anarchist direction in intellectual and academic circles. To this end, it sought to set up an international CIRA Honorary Committee to bring together researchers and activists; he had some response, but he also experienced several rejections. He developed contacts with the University Library and the UN Library in Geneva, while the CIRA still consisted of boxes of magazines and piles of books on the shaky shelves of one room. He also brought together students and young researchers to help catalog, organize conferences, publish (and copy) the CIRA Bulletin .

During a wave of international solidarity, four young people threw several incendiary bottles at the Spanish consulate in February 1961, causing a large influx of consensual attitudes but also arrests and deportations. Pietro Ferrua had to leave Switzerland in January 1963, and CIRA left Maria-Christine Mikhaïl and Marianne Enckell. He moved to Rio de Janeiro with his Brazilian wife and their two children. He quickly resumed his intellectual and political activities, founded the Brazilian Center for International Studies and operated the Brazilian section of CIRA until his new expulsion. Due to his anarchist activities, he became very unpopular in the eyes of the Brazilian army, which held power in the country. He was arrested in October 1969, along with fifteen other friends, and went into exile in the United States in December, where he found new refuge in Portland, Oregon, thanks to family ties.

From 1970 to 1987 he worked there as a teacher at the private liberal arts college Lewis & Clark College. He was in charge of foreign languages (French, Italian, Spanish), comparative studies and film history. He has always been interested in avant-garde art and literary forms - in 1976 he organized the First International Symposium on Lettrism and published several works in this field, he was also a member of Innovative Infinitesimal International. He also did his own research in the field of artistic and literary avant-garde and the Mexican Revolution. The output is the publication of a dozen books and an inexhaustible number of articles for major academic journals, but also for anarchist ones.

A number of his academic degrees included translation and interpreting certificates in Italian, French, Portuguese and Spanish at the University of Geneva, a master's degree in philosophy at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica in Rio de Janeiro, ABD at the Universidade Federal in Rio and a Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Oregon. In parallel with his career as a university professor, Ferrua has worked as a freelance conference interpreter around the world. He has interpreted professionally for heads of state, corporate leadership and international organizations, including Pope Francis, King Juan Carlos of Spain and King Baldwin of Belgium, US Presidents Carter, Reagan and Clinton, UNESCO, IMF, WHO, Bill Gates and many more.

In addition to authoring 20 books and a number of articles in various languages, he was also a film enthusiast, writing, directing and producing Propos Contemains sur la Femme décousue . He was the creator of several multimedia works of art and also a gourmet chef, connoisseur of wine and spirits, admirer of classical, jazz and experimental music and master of Scrabble in six languages.

His interest in anarchism never left him. Following a conference on anarchism in the Philosophical Circle, the Faculty of Arts in Portland entrusted him with a higher course in anarchism in 1980, forming the first international symposium on anarchism, which brought together hundreds of scholars and activists from around the world. It was a week of debates, films, exhibitions, concerts and events on anarchism. He has published studies on surrealism and anarchy, anarchism and cinema, anarchists through the eyes of painters, as well as two important books on anarchists in the Mexican Revolution. In 1982, he co-founded the Anarchos Institute in Montreal, Canada, and in 1984, he was a speaker at the Art and Anarchy meeting at an international meeting in Venice. Contributed to A rivista anarchica , ApArte , Rivista storica dell'anarchismo, Art et anarchy or the CIRA Bulletin , Brazilian publications and many other magazines and collective works.

Because he was mainly interested in anarchist propaganda, he left his professorship in 1987 and devoted himself fully to the spread of anarchism as a speaker, scientist and essayist. In 1992, he was one of the official speakers at the Outros Quinhentos conference, hosted by the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo in Brazil. It took him many years to return to Europe when his ban on residence in Italy, France and Switzerland was finally lifted. He then spent some time in Nice and Sanremo, caring for his mother. After retiring, he worked as an interpreter, but lived in poverty, forcing him to sell part of his archives. However, he organized film festivals, participated in various international conferences and devoted himself to several researches. He has recently published a number of articles on the occasion of the deaths of several anarchist comrades, such as Franco Leggio, John Cage and others.

His health has deteriorated in recent years. He had an untimely loss of his daughter Anna and son Franco. His wife Diana Lobo Filho also died before him. Some of the former students who remained close to him faithfully accompanied him until his last days, when he was in the hospital and no longer speaking. Pietro Ferrua exhaled for the last time on Wednesday, July 28, 2021 in Portland, in the presence of three of his closest friends.

On Saturday, September 18, the day of his late ninety-one birthday, a celebration of his life will be held in Portland.

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